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SC: Guilt of murder can’t be inferred solely by behaviour

September 22, 2019 06:29 AM


SC: Guilt of murder can’t be inferred solely by behaviour

New Delhi:

More than two decades after being sentenced to life for killing her husband, based on circumstantial evidence including “having tea” with her relatives and not sitting by the body, the Supreme Court has acquitted a woman saying her guilt cannot be inferred just because she was not found saddened by the death.

The apex court said the trial court and the Punjab and Haryana high court committed an error in awarding life imprisonment to her by “heavily” relying upon the statement of her sister-in-law that the woman’s behaviour was ‘very normal’ even after her husband’s body was found hanging from the roof. As the postmortem report concluded that it was not a case of suicide but murder, the trial court and HC found her guilty on the basis of circumstantial evidence as she was in the house when the crime took place.

The incident took place in 1997 in Panchkula where the man’s body was found hanging in the store room, two days after his mysterious disappearance.

In 1998, the trial court accepted the prosecution case that she had killed her husband as she was having an extramarital affair and wanted to grab the property.

The trial court also awarded life imprisonment to her two brothers and held that the man was killed by them and thereafter his body was hanged to pass it off as suicide.

All convicts had moved the HC, which acquitted the woman’s brothers but found her guilty in 2008. The trial court and HC had relied upon statements of her inlaws, who blamed her for the murder. The Supreme Court, which had granted her bail in 2009, quashed her conviction as there wasn’t credible evidence against her.

The court accepted the plea of senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta, who contended on behalf of the woman that being a frail woman, she could not have strangled her husband and then hanged the body from the ceiling fan by herself, and submitted that he was killed by an outsider who intruded into the house

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